Updated: Aug 19
If you are a football junkie like me, Quarterback is the ultimate guilty pleasure that any football fanatic can have. Produced by Peyton Manning under his Omaha Productions banner, the new Netflix docuseries provides unprecedented access behind the scenes of three starting professional quarterbacks in the National Football League. This is an exciting premise, and the final result is an addictive shot of pure bone-crunching adrenaline for a fan of professional football and anyone who loves the behind-the-scenes of the inner workings of an NFL team—notably, the glamor position of Quarterback.
Quarterback documents the incredible highs and lows Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, and Marcus Mariota faced during the 2022 National Football League season. For those not fans of the NFL (or who live under a rock), Mahomes is the generational talent and certifiable Hall of Famer in waiting. With multiple MVPs, a Super Bowl ring under his belt, and a rocket arm reminiscent of Brett Favre on steroids, the question is not if Patrick Mahomes will win another championship but when.
Since Mahomes' popularity is unquestioned, even the Fonz is a fan, for Peter's sake; he's the carrot in the series, so let's get to the stick(s).
Kirk Cousins is an athlete consistently underestimated and scrutinized by the media. Yet, all he does is throw thirty touchdowns and pass for over thirty-five hundred yards year after year. The man has made four Pro Bowls, but the catch is that he has only won a single playoff game in his career, and his ceiling is limited.
Then you have Mariota, the former second overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft; the former Oregon Duck fell out of favor in Tennessee and resurrected his career by having a few well-placed games when needed for the Oakland Raiders. Mariota gets a fresh start with his former offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, who is now the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Mariota is a superb athlete who needs to capitalize on the new mobile quarterback trend in the NFL. However, he has one major issue that causes coaches to give up on him – Mariota does not have enough production (passing yards, rushing yards, and total touchdowns) to counter the fact that he has too many turnovers for a professional quarterback.
What makes Quarterback unique is the element that the series could not control during the 2022 NFL season – the quality of the games. I'm unsure if the producers solely focused on these three quarterbacks, but all indications suggest they did. These quarterbacks participated in some of this century's most exciting and historic games. From Cousins leading the most incredible comeback in NFL history against the Colts to a thrilling slugfest in Buffalo during week 10, the events that unfolded during these games were beyond what one would dare to put in a fictional film. Yet, they happened right before our eyes in real time.
Even Mariota played a memorable game with D.J. Moore, where he led his team to a game-winning field goal after a boneheaded penalty by the Carolina Panthers player. When legendary play-by-play man Van Miller uttered, "Fasten your seatbelts," he wasn't exaggerating because Quarterback cultures that sentiment.
Another aspect is the drama surrounding Mahomes and how his season unfolded. Quarterback showcases the physical and mental toll of the National Football League, and this is greatly appreciated. All three quarterbacks have teams of nutritionists, physical therapists, and muscle specialists who relocate to be near them and remain on-call 24/7 throughout the year.
However, it is essential to note that this is not a Cinema Verde. Some scenes in the series feel staged without shame, like when Cousins explains he takes one day off from football-related matters per week, then turns around to answer fan mail. (To be fair, Kirk Cousins does much for his community.) There are also instances when crucial behind-the-scenes moments, such as Mariota's benching, are strangely absent when viewers crave more insight. Even for noteworthy events like the birth of his child, which occurred the day before his demotion, the taped scenes with family and friends feel more scripted than authentic.
That being said, Quarterback offers a wide-eyed, behind-the-scenes view of the National Football League. While the series may not invite intense scrutiny, it captivates and enthralls viewers, leaving us wondering whom they may feature in future episodes.
“While not exactly offering a fly-on-the-wall scrutiny, Netflix’s Quarterback is a quick shot of bone-crunching adrenaline with a big-eyed, wide-open, behind-the-scenes cyclical view of what it means to play the most prominent position in all of sports."
Check out the trailer for Netflix's Quarterback - Season 1: